DISCLAIMER: The diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders such as depression requires trained professionals. The information provided here is to be used for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for seeking professional care for the diagnosis and/or treatment of any mental or psychiatric disorder.
Depression is state in which a person experiences extreme feelings of sadness, dejection, lack of worth, and emptiness that impairs his or her daily life. It affects the person’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, appearance, and physical health, and touches all areas of a person’s life, including home, work, school, and social life. Depression is different from ordinary feelings of unhappiness or “the blues,” which tend to pass as time goes by. Symptoms of depression are persistent (lasting for months or years).
Depression can be caused by many events such as the loss of a loved one, substantial disappointment at home, work, or school, prolonged or chronic illness, certain prescription drugs, and alcohol or drug use/abuse. Depression is NOT caused by personal weakness or a character flaw. A person suffering from depression cannot talk themselves into feeling better. They cannot snap themselves out of it. They are not someone who lacks motivation to get his or her life together.
Bereavement or grief is a reaction to the death of a loved one. This reaction to loss can look similar to the symptoms of depression (for example, feelings of sadness, poor appetite, and weight loss). The grieving person typically sees their depressed mood as “normal,” although the person may seek professional help for relief of associated symptoms such as insomnia. However, if the symptoms associated with bereavement persist for more than two months after the person’s loss, the person may be suffering from an episode of major depression.
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of depression, you are not alone. Over 17 million people in the US suffer from depression each year. To see if you may be suffering from depressive symptoms, please click here.